Over a woman perhaps

He had always seemed too good to be true, my old friend. But then we fell out, over a woman perhaps, or differing interpretations of friendship, or perhaps through growing older. So I had not seen him for ten, maybe fifteen years, when he walked right by me. I only understood it was him when we had passed; a flicker at the corner of his eye caught mine. Perhaps – again, I’m unsure – the tremor was a sign that he had seen me.

I walked on a few steps; I slowed; I stopped. Would I turn and see him close behind me, smiling or frowning or looking puzzled, or would he have disappeared amongst the crowds? Or would I turn at all? Perhaps it was not him I could convince myself. I turned. He stood there, older, softer, his eyes the same.

So we went for a coffee and a promise to catch up and I’m sorry, no I am, and him and then me and then him and then we both looked at the time again and I thought of having to run to catch up and the years we had spent without talking.
And there was an uncomfortable shuffle and a handshake became an embrace and our gripped hands were caught tight like a fist between our chests, knuckles grinding ribs, and he looked at me and I looked back and I saw that he knew and I tried to show that I did too and then we separated and turned away and everything that had to happen happened.

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